Miyake turns pressure into power
BEIJING (Reuters) - The diminutive and softly spoken weightlifter Hiromi Miyake seemed to drown in the crowd of Japanese photographers and journalists who surrounded her following a training session in Beijing on Sunday.
As one of Japan's main medal hopefuls for the Olympics, the 1.46m tall Miyake has turned into a media sensation in her homeland.
The attention has added to the pressure she already felt as the daughter of 1968 featherweight weightlifting bronze medallist Yoshiyuki Miyake, whose brother Yoshinobu won gold in the division in 1964 and 1968.
With her blue-and-red striped T-shirt, red shoes, ponytail and sideswept fringe, the 22-year-old looked like a shy schoolgirl as she softly answered questions from reporters, covering her mouth with her hand when she laughed.
"In Athens it was just about participating, but since then I've taken part in other international competitions, I've accumulated experience, although I now have some other pressure that I didn't feel in Athens," she said. "But I would like to turn that pressure into power."
Apart from the pressure to succeed, Miyake had a more prosaic worry on her way to Beijing: food.
Japanese athletes changed their diet earlier this year to get accustomed to Chinese food and at the time, Miyake complained the food lacked taste and her father said they would pack soy sauce for the Games.
But she said the fear had been unfounded.
"The food in the Olympic village is very good. I brought some food from Japan just in case but I don't think I'll need it," she said.
Her father, who also acts as her coach, joked that there was a downside to eating in the Olympic canteen.
"It's still very empty so we can't just cheat and eat at McDonald's because everybody would notice."
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